"And now...one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise...Then the God of peace will be with you." -Phillipians 4:8-9

Friday, September 9, 2011

Today's testimony

Yesterday started like any other day, like a typical Thursday in my Lisa-life. It was a busy get-out-of-the-door, get Kenzie to pre-school, pick up blueberries before the sun scorched up the afternoon, work out with a friend, pick Kenzie back up from pre-school...the list continues on kind of day. And yet amidst the busyness of it all, there was a small voice that was calling to me.

Have you ever heard the Lord calling to you before? He speaks to me in whispers, in a voice that is so familiar and distinct, and I yearn to hear that voice every day. I don't always choose to stop and listen, but I was blessed enough yesterday to listen after the girls were put down for their nap. I stopped to be still and spend some time with the One who was calling. This encounter to be still and praise my God was meant to sustain me and, I feel, prepare me for what the rest of the day had to show.

Out of privacy and respect for my family, I will not give specific details. What we know has not been confirmed other than through family friend sources, and we cannot confirm details on what we have heard. As far as my family's past I wouldn't even know what to say on a public blog like this to even explain half of my history, but that really isn't my point today. I could share it all in a private prayer diary which would need no explanations but I really feel like I need to point to the Lord today.

What I will say is that I learned that my Dad is dead. I haven't seen him, heard from him, or known much about what he has been doing since I was 12 years old. Of course I could speculate, but I really haven't even allowed myself to do that in years either. He made horrible decisions in his life which affected every single person that he loved, and he has payed in part for those decisions through prison time and an exclusion from the lives of those in his family and his children that loved him.

The place that he could have served in my life as a supporting father, role model, friend, and grandpa to my precious children died long before he actually died because of the sins he commited. His absence left a huge black hole in my soul that ached throughout my childhood up until Kasey and I were married, and it was around that time that I made the choice to ask the Lord to fill that "daddy" hole for me.

The daddy pains were a result of the loss of all the things that he actually did right. I had mourned him for so long because of the ways that he loved me. There was one thing I could never deny, my daddy truly loved me...I could do no wrong in his eyes, he found me beautiful and always told me so. I knew he would fight for my time to see me and to be with me. He told me that I was smart, and that I was going to do great things in life. He spoke to me tenderly and called me "baby", "sweetie", "my love". He loved to laugh and he shared a love for animals with me. He loved to farm and taught me how to drive a pick-up during the summer while we baled hay. He knew what I was interested in and always let me know that he was there even when I hadn't seen him in some time...until I was 12. And from that point on I had to deal and accept the fact that this person who had been such a loving dad to me in so many ways was a dichotomy. His life was filled with evil, and Sin, and his sins tore my family apart and left scars on so many people, only the Lord knows. The enemy devoured his life, and when it all came to the surface there is not much else that can be said except tha tthe Lord was gracious to me and spared me from so many possible hurts and family sins that I was never even fully aware of until recently.

My heart today is so thankful to the Lord, and I feel so incredibly humbled. I don't know exactly how to explain it but when I look over this man's life all I can see is the Lord's hand in my own life, and how He has stepped into that special place of my heart to fill "daddy". I want to share how the Lord is so powerful, and loving beyond any words, and that He wants to be such an intimate part of our lives even more that what we can imagine. There is no denying His Divine hand and Providence that He places over the lives of those who love Him and believe in Him, and all for reasons that no person could understand.

So even as my dad was a living dichotomy, I look at all the things that I loved about him that were mixed in with shadows of endless lies, hurts, and disappointments in contrast to who the Lord has been to me as my shelter. He has lifted me up and spoon-fed me with His attentions as I have needed them and has allowed me to grow in Him ever since I asked to fill that place for me. When I stop to listen, He calls to me and He tells me how He loves me, and will always provide for me. He tenderly listens and shows me His love in the eyes of my children, in my husband, in all the beauty he has provided me in my surroundings and friends and family.

Who am I that the Lord would be so good to me? To raise me up from a life and family filled with hurts and pain, and sins, and addictions, idolotry and pathological lies? Who am I that He would take the time to pick me up and bless me with an amazing family and husband who possesses all of the qualities I absolutely loved about my dad? He took that split life and broken little girl that I was, and He made all things new for me; and it is a humbling thing. My life is not perfect, and it doesn't need to be. We are all so incredibly loved beyond what we deserve and past expectations we could ever ask for.

I am so thankful that it breaks me. I don't deserve the blessings that I have in my life. Growing up I never felt like I could control any circumstances in my life, and it made me an angry, pessimistic perfectionist of a person who hurt...and I couldn't think of ever being any other way, it seemed impossible for me. I hurt, and I wore my hurts on my sleeve. I never would have dreamed of a stable life where i felt content, consistent, and optimistic in hope. I was in counseling from the ages of 12-18, and was on anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications until I was 19. I contemplated suicide when I was 13, and couldn't think of going on in this world anymore because I hurt so badly I was numb. I lost trust in people, and especially in men. I was angry that so many people seemed to have everything handed to them so easily without any hurts, and in my efforts to control something in my life I struggled with perfectionism with body images and eating disorders in a vain struggle to have a say in something in my life. I imagined at times that I would die young because I couldn't picture going on in a life that was such a disappointment, and I bought into these thoughts and hurts that the Enemy fed into my head until I truly found the Lord and asked Him into my life. The Lord delivered me...from those hurts and from the Enemy's thoughts that were so persistent in my head that kept me feeling sorry for myself and hopeless, from the anger, the bitterness, the mistrust in my heart, my need for control. My dad stands for all of these things because his prison sentence and abrupt absence from my life started a cascade of events that led me down the road to loss and hurts and depression as a child. I could have gone back to that place yesterday with the news of his probable death - but instead it just showed me how I have been delivered. Delivered.

Today I give praises to the One who sits on the throne, the One who loves, the Father that I claim and give all glory to. The one who has delivered me from a life and past filled with sin and hurts.

He makes all things new

He delivers those who call to Him

He is a refuge to the sick and the brokenhearted

He is our savior from Sin

He breaks family curses, He takes away iniquities and remembers them no more

He loves us passionately

He speaks tenderly and sweetly

And He is our Father in Heaven.

Praise God!

I believe on the day I die, that I will be able to run to my Lord. And call Him daddy. And maybe, just maybe, I will see my real daddy there; cleansed of his sins and his hurts. But I won't know until that day, and that's OK. I have a peace that what is right and just will be done, and at this point I lay it all down and choose not to pursue it anymore. We do not have confirmation of my dad's death through his body, or a birth certificate, or funeral service so I can only speculate on what we have heard and if it is true, but I choose to believe that he is gone, and will be at peace with it.

Thank you for listening. I pray that if you don't know this Lord that I speak of, that you would possibly ask Him to speak to you today. I really hope that you do. And if you know Him, how long has it been since you sat and asked Him to hear His voice. Will you do that today?

Again, I really hope that you do.